Point of Beginning | Kent State University

Point of Beginning

Columbiana County Campuses Join Efforts at Point of Beginning Site

Kent State University at Salem horticulture students learn surveying techniques through their studies, but a recent beautification project helped put those lessons into proper historical perspective.

Working on the Point of Beginning project in East Liverpool were (front, from left) Stan Jones, Seth Parris, Joe Kelley, Claire Smith, Maurice Peoples, Autumn Dixon and (back, from left) Tyler Crock, Donna Lohman, Samantha Keshock, Gerald Perkins and Eric HelbigStudents in the landscape construction class, taught by Stan Jones on the Salem Campus, traveled to East Liverpool where they worked on the initial phase of a beautification project at the Point of Beginning – an often overlooked registered national historic landmark that had fallen into a state of neglect in recent years.

Noted author Simon Winchester visited the site a while ago and later made a presentation to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, during which he lamented the historical importance of the site and called attention to its “disrepair.” 

Shortly afterward, members of the local community began an effort to make the site more attractive and inviting to passing motorists.

Heritage Thermal Services awarded Kent State East Liverpool a $1,000 environmental grant during CitySweep this past spring. That money was used by Jones and his students to tackle the first phase of the beautification project, which included building a wooden fence backdrop that also serves as a barrier to the hillside behind the site’s monument.

The students helped plan and design the structure, taking into consideration the proximity of the monument to the road and the small “green” space surrounding it. The site is in the east end of East Liverpool, just feet from the Pennsylvania state border.

According to a historical marker located on the site, “no survey of the western lands of the United States could be made, as required under the Land Ordinance of 1985, until the surveyors for Pennsylvania and Virginia set a marker on the north shore of the Ohio River. On Aug. 20, 1785, that marker was set and concluded the North-South line between the two states.”

The original marker was located 1,112 feet south of the current marker. There, on Sept. 30, 1785, Thomas Hutchins, the first geographer of the United States, began the geographers’ line of the seven ranges and this became known as the Point of Beginning for the survey of the western lands. 

A marker containing this historical information was dedicated on Sept. 30, 1960, by the East Liverpool Historical Society and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. The local historical society has custodial care of the site and helped Kent State gain access to it.

Noting that “this site possesses exceptional value in commemorating and illustrating the history of the United States,” the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service designated the site a registered national historical landmark in 1966. It also is listed as a national historic civil engineering landmark.

If additional financial support is received, Kent State East Liverpool officials hope to continue the beautification project with concrete curbing, shrubbery, flowers and walkways. Anyone interested in helping with this project can contact Leonard Koshinski, director of advancement, at 330-382-7559.

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PHOTO:
Working on the Point of Beginning project in East Liverpool were (front, from left) Stan Jones, Seth Parris, Joe Kelley, Claire Smith, Maurice Peoples, Autumn Dixon and (back, from left) Tyler Crock, Donna Lohman, Samantha Keshock, Gerald Perkins and Eric Helbig

POSTED: Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 4:58pm
UPDATED: Friday, July 24, 2015 - 2:55pm